Home» News» News» Focus»

PKU alumni named 2018 Rhodes scholars

DEC . 11 2017
Peking University, Dec. 6, 2017: Last weekend, Rhodes Trust announced the final Chinese recipients of 2018 Rhodes scholarship in Shanghai. After rounds of fierce online and offline competition, four out of 14 final-round applicants won the award, including two PKU alumni. They are Hou Yifan and Li Yuhan.

Hou Yifan  is completing her BA in international studies at Peking University, where she has twice placed first in a comprehensive department ranking. As impressive as Yifan’s academic record is, it is outside the classroom where she has excelled the most: she is the world’s top-ranked women’s chess player and a four-time world champion. In 2010 she became the youngest world champion, female or male, in chess history. ESPN, the American sports network, has lauded her 'exceptional genius'. Gary Kasparov, the great chess champion who is now a human rights activist, describes Yifan as 'someone who has a vision for having a broader impact on society beyond chess'. Along with serving as a cultural ambassador for China, she is a member of the World Chess Federation’s ‘chess in school’ commission, encouraging students to take up the sport. 

She hopes to focus on the education of China’s disadvantaged children and making Chinese schools more innovative. At Oxford she plans to pursue a MSc in Education.

Li Yuhan has a Bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Peking University. She was valedictorian of her college and also spoke on behalf of all students at the university’s anniversary celebration. Since graduation, she has worked for SHANSHUI Conservation Center, a Chinese NGO, managing a station for scientific research on the Tibetan plateau. She is helping to train local families for biodiversity monitoring and human-animal conflicts solution, among other activities. Yuhan has served as an intern to WWF China and also as a youth delegate to the COP 21 United Nations Conference on Climate Change. After years of working at student TV stations, she interned with CNN in Beijing this year, researching and producing stories. As an exchange student at Sciences Po in Paris, she helped coordinate social media for Refugee Help, a student organization. Yuhan plans to pursue a Master’s in Biodiversity, Conservation and Management, setting herself up for a career in nature conservation.

Brief introduction of The Rhodes Scholarship
The Rhodes Scholarship is widely considered to be one of the world's most prestigious scholarships. Recipients of the scholarship are known as Rhodes Scholars. It is a postgraduate award supporting exceptional students from around the world to study at the University of Oxford. It aims to nurture public-spirited leaders for the world's future. Recipients of the scholarships can enjoy a £30,000 or $50,000 grant each academic year, as well as the right to use the Rhodes House. To date, the program has produced over 8000 scholars who have become some of the most prominent leaders in their respective fields.

Written by: Huang Yadan
Edited by: Zhang Jiang